Creating High Performing Teams – Part 5

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Creating a supportive environment

The final aspect of high performing teams is the enablement of experience sharing, learning and prevention of problems before they happen.  Research shows that a high organisation is up to 70% more valuable that a low performing organisation.  This indicates how important the creation of a high performing team can be.

To achieve this, leaders need to ensure that there are formal mechanisms in the team to create space for reflection and to allow best practice and learning from mistakes to be shared between team members.

One way of introducing this into your organisation is to set up a peer support system.  Whilst it is true that the most experienced team members should be able to help the less experienced team members more than the other way around, this is not the whole story.  Junior members may be able to help more experienced team members see things differently through a fresh set of eyes.  Likewise, any newer team member that have arrived from a large multinational or perhaps a completely different industry, can also bring in a new perspective to traditional thinking.  Remember, some of the worst words in business are “we have always done it that way”.

The optimum scenario is when requests for and offers of help flow freely between team members on a peer-to-peer basis across experience levels without team members even noticing.

Another way of ensuring a supportive organisation is to ensure that early warning systems are in place.  In traditional teams, it’s the leader’s job to provide most of the team intelligence – information on potential threats or opportunities for, the team.  In a high performing team, it is every team member’s responsibility to constantly look out for threats or opportunities and to ensure that they are communicated to all other team members. 

The measurement of lead measures rather than lag measures can also help to create an early warning system.  Lag measures are called that simply because there is a lag in the time that the performance is measured.  In measuring sales, for example, we set perhaps the number of sales made in a month or a year.  This is a lag measure as we do not know whether we have achieved it or not until the end of the month or year.  Lead measures, however, are measures that will lead to the performance being achieved, if the lead measures are met.  Let’s use an easy example.  If we want to loose weight, we may set ourself a target of losing a stone in 6 weeks.  However, if we use lead measures, such as increasing our daily exercise or decreasing our daily calorie intake, these will lead to the eventual weight loss.

Therefore by using lead measures we can create an early warning sign for team performance.

For more information on Creating High Performing Teams please attend our FREE webinar on the 24th Feb.

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